Almost every television season there is a story of an actor or actress negotiating with a network over a salary. Sometimes, as with Larry Hagman, the casts of Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond, playing hard ball as a show is about to go into production has worked. I get and understand if a product, in this case a television show, makes a certain amount of money, the actors involved should be rewarded for their participation in the show's success. That being said, what makes actors any more important than all the other creative people involved with the show? I guess that is us. We care if an actor leaves a show, most of us would not care, or notice if a producer, director, writer or creator were turfed to the side.
I find the salaries recently negotiated for the cast of The Big Bang Theory obscene. I know percentage wise, they may be technically fair, but particular skill or talent do Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, and Kaley Cuoco have to warrant making ninety million dollars over three years? What is so special about Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg have to warrant seventy? I get it is show business and multi-million dollar salaries for actors and athletes have been the norm for decades. For some reason reading about this particular group of actors bugged me more than most. Big Bang is a funny show, but regardless of how much money the show makes, measuring each of the actors time commitment and work input, with their financial output doesn't in any way balance out. Sort of sucks the enjoyment out of watching the twenty two minutes those billions created.
One of the most rewarding thing about working on FH is relationships. Over the last eight years or so, I feel privileged to have formed relationships with a number of artists whose work both inspires and motivates me to continue with the blog. Wesley from New Manhattan Studios is without a doubt one of those artists.
I love nothing more than when an artist takes me with them on a journey through the process of creating, and Wes is a skilled and patient guide. In each of the pieces we have worked on together, Wes has walked me through the shooting process, the early stages of editing and the introduction of the gallery of final images on his website. Wes has also ensured that he tucks away a few images, exclusively for readers of FH.
The process of bring this incredible set of images of Victor to you wasn't one without twists and turns in the road. I believe Wes first mentioned his work with Victor back in April, and soon after I had a few teases of the magic that was occurring. I knew instantly I wanted to feature Wes' images of Victor. His incredible face, and beautiful green eyes are enchanting, and all the more incredible given that Victor didn't always look as he does now. He has worked hard on his body causing a metamorphosis, creating a look that matches his modeling and acting ambitions.
Since April however, many things got in the way, intercepting and slowing down the process of finally unveiling the images. Other work, trips and maybe most of all the artist's professionalism created pause. Although their first shoot together resulted in some great images, Victor was continuing to work on his physique and Wes had creative idea's he wanted to work on in additional shoots, to ensure he captured the best images of Victor possible before putting together the post. In this post, and the post below, you will see the results of those shoots. Deffinetly worth the wait! In the post below, I put my keyboard down and Wes takes over, sharing with FH readers his thoughts on the process and working with Victor.
As long as I've been photographing people, it never ceases to amaze me how poor I am at guessing who is and who isn’t going to look good in the finished photographs. I have had some stunningly good-looking men and women in front of my camera that don’t, for whatever reason, look nearly as good in two dimensions as they look in person. Alternatively, I have had some very average-looking people who photograph like super stars.
I refrain from doing “cosmetic surgery” in Photoshop, but as a photographer I know that there are things that I can (and should) do with lighting, camera angles and poses to maximize a model’s potential (or minimize a weakness). Victor did not require any special considerations or lighting, but I was not prepared for what I saw when I started processing his images.
Now don’t get me wrong, Victor is a very attractive young man. But when he walked into the studio I was not particularly impressed with the 19-year-old with some rather rough edges. Fresh off the bus from Oklahoma, he announced that he wanted to be an A&F model. (“Good luck with that,” I thought. “The line starts over there.”)
When he told me that he already had a job with the store, I was impressed; impressed that he knew that a prerequisite for landing a spot in the Abercrombie catalogue is actually working in one of the stores. Still, standing before me, I saw nothing that separated him from the scores of other models his age whose ambitions are to be an A&F model.
Victor is quiet, polite and unassuming. At 19, he was still in school when we worked together and, having recently moved to the metropolitan area from the Midwest, he didn’t throw off any of the “hot shit New York Model” vibes that I encounter all too often. He was working hard on his physique and just starting to make the rounds in New York. He was, in a word, “refreshing” to work with.
But nothing during our uneventful 3-hour first session prepared me for the delightful surprise I had when I downloaded Victor’s images to my computer and started reviewing his photos. After a quick scan of just the first few dozen I was struck by the realization that, indeed, this kid does have the potential to be an A&F model. With his blond hair and classic looks, he’s the embodiment of the Abercrombie look! I will repeat, “Victor is an attractive young man” and I will add “who photographs extremely well.” At six foot and 150 pounds, if he works at it, he may well succeed as a model in this town.
Happy with the results of the first session, I offered Victor an additional session and a possible slot in one of the studio’s published portfolios. He agreed, with the understanding that the work would require some implied, partial or full nudity. At one point during his second session I asked him how he got interested in modeling. He responded that it was his mother’s idea.
Later, as he was standing nude on the paper, I couldn’t help but wonder what his Mom would think of these pictures. With such a good-looking son, I guessed she might be a model, too. When I asked him what she does, he said his Mom was not a model but she was managing his career. She sees all the pictures.
I'm happy to report that Victor told me that Mom liked the pictures. We did, too; so much so that they’ve earned Victor a place in our 2014 models portfolio, Gramercy Square. Victor will be one of six New York models featured in the book that will be published this fall. And I'm also happy to report that at 19, Victor has succeeded in branching out of modeling into an acting career as well. He’s already landed the lead in an indie film playing the young James Dean! I can’t help but wonder how I’d have reacted if the young James Dean had walked into my studio. Could I have envisioned how great the 19-year-old from Indiana would look on the big screen?
A special video presentation of Victor’s photo shoots with New Manhattan Studios has been prepared exclusively for the readers of Favorite Hunks. You can see that video by clicking HERE: or visit Victor’s gallery at New Manhattan Studios by clicking HERE. Victor’s is one of nearly 50 galleries at NewManhattanStudios.com, featuring models from New York and around the world that have worked with the studio.